Florida has some of the best outdoor recreation the country has to offer, with 8,400 miles of shoreline (including lakes and springs), 11 national parks and nearly 200 state parks, campgrounds, preserves, recreational areas and trailheads. Although we don’t have data for how many injuries occur at these sites every year, we do know that pursuing a Florida injury lawsuit after an incident may require overcoming the recreational use defense.
In any negligence lawsuit, a key question is whether the defendant owed the person injured a duty of care. The recreational use statute, codified in F.S. 375.251, limits the duty of care owed by the owner/manager of property to guests when the land, water or park areas have been made available to the public for recreational purposes without charge. The idea is to encourage land owners – including the government – to make areas available for public outdoor recreation by limiting their liability for injuries that may occur on site. The statute allows that if a landowner opens its land to the public for outdoor recreational use, it holds no duty of care to keep that area safe for entry or use by others and no duty of care toward a person who goes to the area and no duty to warn of hazardous conditions.